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Allen and Greenough/ New Latin Grammar


124. The Comparative is regularly formed by adding -ior (neuter -ius), 1 the Superlative by adding -issimus (-a , -um), to the stem of the Positive, which loses its final vowel:—

cārus, dear (stem cāro-);cār ior, dearer;cār issimus, dearest.
levis, light (stem levi-);lev ior, lighter;lev issimus, lightest.
fēlīx, happy (stem fēlīc-);fēlīc io , happier;fēlīc issimus, happiest.
hebes, dull (stem hebet-);hebet ior, duller;hebet issimus, dullest.

Note— A form of diminutive is made upon the stem of some comparatives: as, grandius-culus, a little larger (see § 243).

a. Participles when used as adjectives are regularly compared:—

  1. patiēns, patient; patient ior, patient issimus.
  2. apertus, open; apert ior, apert issimus.

XML File

The comparative suffix (earlier -iōs ) is akin to the Greek - ίων , or the Sanskrit - iyans. That of the superlative ( -issimus ) is a double form of uncertain origin. It appears to contain the is- of the old suffix -is-to-s (seen in ἥδ-ιστο-ς and English sweetest ) and also the old -mo-s (seen in prī-mus , mini-mus , etc.). The endings -limus and -rimus are formed by assimilation (§ 15 . 6) from -simus . The comparative and superlative are really new stems, and are not strictly to be regarded as forms of inflection.